Learn practices and methods to help you focus in the workplace and stay successful and productive.
It happens to the best of us. Whether it is during a busy work day, or clutching a mile-long to-do list at home, its hard to not feel overwhelmed and struggle to keep our focus. Distractions are all around us; whether it is mentally, physically, or blinking and buzzing in our pockets, they are there, and hard to get rid of.
Distractions in the workplace
When it comes to narrowing down the most productive, focused environments one could be in, it would seem that the office would rank high on the list; however, employees find that the work place achieves the paradoxical effect. Whether it is a text message, instant message, email, or a phone call, there is always something that offsets our focus.
Background noises will catch our ear, and oftentimes the chatter of other co-workers is disturbing, resulting in the inability to focus on our own projects and assignments.
These distractions are difficult to avoid sometimes and can be frustrating. Any working environment has different factors demanding our attention, and it is tough to stay focused and in control of our own assignments and productivity. You forget what are working on, or lose your train of thought. Sometimes, we lose our focus so much that we lose the drive we once had and it takes time to get that energy back.
Heres 8 Ways to Keep Your Focus In The Workplace
Despite all of these mind-numbing interruptions, there are plenty of methods or practices that can generate and maintain our focus in the workplace. Here are eight useful exercises that can lead you down a successful and productive path:
1. Turn off your electronics
I can hear the scoff of self-doubt from all the way over here! Give yourself more credit than that. It is extremely difficult to get anything done with our electronic devices pinging, beeping, or vibrating every few minutes. Hearing your cell phone ring, or even anticipating that it might ring, will keep you off focus. So, turn it off.
When our minds are overwhelmed, we tend to go to other, busier places to help quiet our brains. Thats when we turn to social media. We scroll through Twitter and Facebook to try to clear our heads, but what ends up happening is we derail our focus, and enter a danger zone. We start looking through other profiles, reading other text, and filling our brains with more junk to sort through. Stay away from the danger zone.
I still sense some skepticism.
What about if a majority of your work is dependent on your phone or electronics? Try adjusting the settings. Play with the vibrate levels, or, turn your phone on silent. For iPhone users, the Do Not Disturb option will help silent those notifications. Dont worry, you can get to them later. You can still keep it in arms reach and complete different tasks without the constant distraction.
2. Be unavailable if you need to be
This practice mirrors turning off the electronic devices and veering away from social media. Despite what you may feel, its really OK to be unavailable for a few hours. Being unavailable means dedicating time to ourselves; we close the door to the outside, buckle down, and get our work done. Giving yourself space from outside distractions will help center your focus, and youll find pleasing results.
If a co-worker comes up to you and asks you to help them with a specific task, its OK to say no. Its okay to say youre busy at the moment with a particular task. Its alright to close the office door and hide away for a while. Being unavailable will feel so relaxing and rejuvenating. So, try it out; be unavailable. You wont miss a thing.
3. Keep a physical to-do list
I say physical, because keeping a mental to-do list wont do any good. If keeping your mind at ease is tough, then the last thing you need is a mental to-do list. Its beneficial to write your tasks down because you feel accomplished that you took the time to write it down, and you might even remember other tasks that were left on the back burner.
After you write the list down, make sure to check off tasks as you complete them. Keep the list handy, and take a look at it every now and then when you start to lose your grip. Take a look at the next item and stay focused on completing that task. Tell yourself the only thing you need to worry about are those specific assignments. As you check each item off, you will feel focused and determined to keep heading toward your goal.
4. Take a quick break to energize
Its always incredible when you have a burst of energy and can power through a project. Youre able to power through your assignments and even get a jump start on next weeks tasks. You feel like youre on top of the world. However, when you start to feel your focus starting to dwindle,it doesnt feel so hot.
Where did that energy go, and how can I get it back?
Try to find a change of scenery. Take a walk with a co-worker and go over ideas. Get outside and clear your head; sit on a park bench, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths. Youll feel more relaxed, and the change of scenery will help set your mind at ease, and boost your energy.
Better yet, tap in to your creative outlet or do something that fun. Read a book, go into a shop, or join a co-worker or two for lunch. Doing so will give you time to unwind, collect your thoughts, and you will return to your desk feeling rejuvenated and focused.
5. Exercise regularly for energy boost
Even if it is going for a brisk walk during your break, finding time to exercise is extremely important. This can mean having a morning routine, such as morning yoga or meditation, or hitting the gym for a quick cardio session. Any type of workout will do wonders.
If you dont exercise on a regular basis, you will become restless, and it will be hard to keep your focus. Sitting at your desk comfortably will be troublesome, and youll find your back and neck aches distracting. Try standing up and doing some stretches . Sure, you will look ridiculous, but you will feel more relaxed, loose, and will find it easier to concentrate.
Health tip: Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking water improves focus, concentration, and your ability to perform. Also, try eating little snacks throughout the day to reduce hunger. A handful of mixed nuts, fruit, and other small snacks will help improve concentration and focus.
6. Create a visual goal
Dont just picture it; create it! If youre a visual person, this is definitely a helpful practice. This can mean grabbing a piece of paper and drawing a map or a picture of what youd like to achieve, or taking out a poster board, markers, and drawing a pyramid of steps and goals you need to meet to make it to the top.
Other ideas can be printing or writing out your favorite quotes, inspirational images, or photos of icons to help motivate you throughout the day. When you start to feel your energy is low and you need a little boost, look at those visuals and you will regain your focus, visualize your goals, and continue to work toward them.
7. Use headphones to block background noise
This is a good method for those who work in a busy office or for those who get easily distracted from background noises. If youre close to a deadline or need to concentrate on a specific task, putting in headphones is a great way to close yourself off from the world around you. Play music that motivates you, or listen to an inspiration speech or podcast. Music helps make tasks more enjoyable and certain genres like classical music helps stimulate your brain, improves your focus, and boosts your productivity.
8. Buddy up with co-workers or friends
Share your goals and projects with a co-worker or friend with the same ambition and drive as you. Your buddy will help motivate you and keep you on the path to success. Share your progress with one another, and your buddy will give you that little boost of encouragement you may need to stay on track. Helping them stay motivated will inspire you to keep going.
Try to check in regularly with them throughout the day or during one of your breaks. Let them know that they have what it takes, and your buddy will reciprocate the positive reinforcement. Working as a team will make you happier and your tasks and assignments will become less dreadful, and more fulfilling.
What Works For You?
Keeping your focus can be one of the most difficult tasks any employee can tackle, but using any, or most of these practices can help lead you down the path to success.
Did I miss any? Please share what methods and tips that have worked for you in your work environment in the comments below!